Unemployed? If you are in construction or manufacturing, here’s some good news. According to CNN reports, in February construction jobs had the biggest one-month jobs gain in nearly four years – and it’s been a long darn four years for the construction industry which still has a jaw-dropping 21.8% unemployment rate.
Manufacturing’s February increase was the strongest in 16 years, with a 9.9% current unemployment rate, only one percentage higher than the overall unemployment rate.
Many manufacturers are now saying they could increase production 50% or more if they could just find the workers. They predict that the number of manufacturers with a large number of unfilled positions for skilled workers will likely double in the next five years!
Still, I keep hearing our manufacturing customers say they can’t find skilled workers and the ones they’ve got are great but they aren’t getting any younger. If you are a middle-aged electrician, machinist, or welder you are probably still employed…if not, keep looking because there is an increasing demand and more companies are willing to invest in training and education in new technologies – they literally have to.
And what about the kids? They’re spooked about getting jobs in manufacturing with worries that U.S. manufacturing has left for China and India. From what I am hearing, this thought is more like an urban myth gone viral and could not be further from the truth. Industry is literally getting desperate for young skilled workers to replace those that are aging out.
There are, of course, irresistible temptations out there for young graduates – Google’s starting salary for new computer science grads is $100,000. $100,000! For a kid who probably doesn’t even know how to balance a check book! But if he or she can write great apps, Google will pay them even more and call them “rockstarninja” engineers. At that rate I guess they can hire someone to balance their check book.
Not everyone, or rather hardly anyone, was meant to be a “rockstarninja” engineer. It’s totally cool to be a “rockstarninja” machinist, technician or electrician. I don’t have a list of manufacturers hiring, but am happy to pass along some good news.